By Robert Licuria, Gold Derby senior editor

Now that the Golden Globes are over, everybody wants to know: What impact will the big wins have on the Oscars?

The Globe has a reputation for being an uncanny Oscar crystal ball, but there are plenty of arguments to suggest that the Globes don't matter. None of the 88 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association overlap with the nearly 6,000 Academy members who vote for the Oscars. In addition, given that the deadline for the first round of Academy Award voting was Jan. 14, whatever transpires at the Globes ceremony cannot influence how the Academy votes for its nominees, which are due to be announced on Jan. 25. By the time the Academy votes for its winners in February, the Globes will be a distant memory for most Oscar voters.
However, when comparing the vote results of the two awards in recent years, the Globes' impact is obvious. There are usually significant differences between the nominees for both awards, but the leading contenders tend to score bids for both and the Globes have such high visibility that it's hard for Oscar voters not to be influenced by the Globes' outcome when choosing their victors weeks later.

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Over the last 20 years, 13 winners of the Oscar for Best Actor had won one of the the two Golden Globes bestowed for lead male acting performances -- in Drama and Comedy or Musical. In the last five years, four of the Oscar winners for Best Actor also triumphed at the Golden Globes. The one exception: Globe champ Mickey Rourke ('The Wrestler') lost to Sean Penn ('Milk') at the Oscars.

As for the actresses, 12 Golden Globe winners have gone on to take the Oscar, including four winners in the Comedy or Musical lineup. In the last five years, all five Oscar winners also had Golden Globes on their mantels, including Kate Winslet, who won the Golden Globe in 2008 as Best Drama Actress for 'Revolutionary Road,' but eventually won the Oscar for 'The Reader,' for which she also won the Supporting Actress Globe that same year.

In the supporting races, 12 Golden Globe winners for Best Supporting Actor went on to Oscar glory, including four winners in the last five years, with only Eddie Murphy ('Dreamgirls') missing out on the Oscar in 2006 to Alan Arkin for 'Little Miss Sunshine.' As for the Best Supporting Actresses, 11 winners of the Golden Globe went on to win the Oscar, with three in the last five years grabbing the double win. Cate Blanchett for 'I'm Not There' missed out to Tilda Swinton for 'Michael Clayton' in 2007 and in 2008 Kate Winslet received a promotion to the lead actress category for 'The Reader,' thereby giving way to Penelope Cruz for 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona.'

The odds for the last couple of decades suggest a 60-70 percent correlation between the Golden Globe and Oscar races for the four acting prizes, probably not the greatest odds given the Globes arguably get two bites of the cherry in the lead races (as they honor both dramatic and comedic performances in separate categories). However, what is undeniable is that over the last five years, the Globes have done remarkably well at predicting the eventual winners in the acting categories.

As for Best Picture, the most coveted prize of all, the odds are not as good as they are for the actors. Although 12 of the last 20 Best Picture winners prevailed at the Globes (similar odds to the acting categories), over the last five years only one film has won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Picture ('Slumdog Millionaire,' in 2008).

So, even though last year the acting prizes went four for four (Jeff Bridges for 'Crazy Heart,' Sandra Bullock for 'The Blind Side,' Christoph Waltz for 'Inglourious Basterds' and Mo'Nique for 'Precious'), the HFPA went against the tide and bestowed top honors to 'Avatar' (with James Cameron winning Best Director), over 'The Hurt Locker' and Kathryn Bigelow, the ultimate winners at the Oscars.

Could these statistics be ominous for 'The Social Network' and David Fincher? Perhaps it makes a difference that the Globes have decided this year to follow the general consensus and award what is largely perceived by critics and journalists as the best film of 2010, much in the same way they did when 'Slumdog Millionaire' destroyed all films in its path in winning nearly all major precursors on its way to the ultimate prize at the Kodak Theater. Although the odds seem to suggest that the Globes are not as in step with the Best Picture Oscar as they once were, maybe this year the Hollywood Foreign Press could not pass up the most awarded and acclaimed film of the year, and in doing so, have continued that film's winning streak.

Should the team behind 'The King's Speech' come to terms with the inevitable loss next month? In a year in which general consensus suggests that the best film of 2010 was 'The Social Network,' is this win another step on the road to an ultimate triumph at the Oscars, or will 'The King's Speech' overcome this setback like 'The Hurt Locker' last year, 'No Country For Old Men' in 2007 (winning the Oscar over Globe winner 'Atonement'), 'The Departed' (winning the Oscar over Globe winner 'Babel' in 2006) and 'Crash' (winning the Oscar and not even being nominated for the Globe when 'Brokeback Mountain' prevailed in 2005)?

Only time will tell. Whether or not a win at the Globes increases its chances to win the top Oscar prize, at least the team behind 'The Social Network' can take comfort that they got to swan down the red carpet, sip champagne and mingle with the people that matter rather than be forgotten and lost in the shuffle in yet another crazy and hyped awards season. And maybe for those reasons alone, the Globes do matter, probably more than most of the myriad other awards ceremonies dotted throughout January and February each and every year.

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